1st shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Japan

Approval for domestic use of Pfizer vaccine in Japan expected to be issued on Sunday

The first shipment of 400,000 COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Japan early Friday.

The vaccines were supplied by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. which developed it in collaboration with Germany’s BioNTech, Kyodo News agency reported.

Japan, which reported 412,125 cases of coronavirus including 6,800 deaths since the outbreak, is expected to approve the vaccine on Sunday to allow vaccination from next week starting with frontline health workers.

At least 20,000 doctors and nurses from around 100 hospitals have given consent to receive the shots in the first phase of the vaccination campaign.

The flight carrying vaccines from Brussels, where the vaccines were manufactured, landed at the Narita airport to the east of the capital Tokyo.

Japan is also working to set up around 20,000 ultracold freezers at medical facilities to store the vaccines.

Pfizer vaccines need to be kept at a temperature of about minus 75 degrees Celsius (minus 103 degrees Fahrenheit).

Japan has agreements made with Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna to vaccinate its 126 million population.

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